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Patriarch of drug ring sentenced

Wayne Namana who appeared in the High Court at Wellington on Wednesday.

Namana to serve more than five years

The head of a Wairarapa family who ran a major methamphetamine supply ring has been sentenced to five years and seven months imprisonment.

Wayne Moewaka Namana, 62, [pictured left] appeared before Justice Christine Grice in the High Court at Wellington on Wednesday for sentencing having earlier pleaded guilty to multiple charges relating to the supply of methamphetamine.

These were one charge for participating in organised crime, one representative charge for possession of methamphetamine for supply, two representative charges of supplying methamphetamine, one representative charge of offering to supply methamphetamine, and one charge of offering to supply cannabis.

The charges related to an 11-month investigation in 2017, dubbed Operation Sweden, into the supply and distribution of methamphetamine throughout Wairarapa.

Wairarapa and Wellington police arrested 11 people, including Namana’s children, Iherangi Erua Namana and Chanel Rewa Namana.

Evidence suggested the syndicate was responsible for the supply of two ounces per week.

Crown prosecutor Grant Burston called for a sentence starting point of nine years imprisonment.

He said this was representative of the role Namana had played in the distribution network and proportional to the sentences on others involved – Namana’s son faced a starting point of seven years imprisonment earlier this week.

“He made choices as a male adult which were not available to his son who became addicted to methamphetamine as a teenager.”

Defence lawyer Scott McColgan told Justice Grice, Namana’s “personal circumstances” and history of abuse deserved recognition and asked for a starting point of eight years imprisonment.

Namana had suffered physical and mental abuse by his father. He went into state care at the age 11 where more abuse occurred.

This upbringing led Namana to carve out a different life for his family. He was a “caring and loving father”, the lawyer said.

Namana became involved in methamphetamine dealing after his son was introduced to the drug by workmates and became addicted.

“When Iherangi became an addict, when he was spending money he didn’t have, with threats of getting himself into trouble with others in the methamphetamine trade, [his father] stepped in.”

The operation had provided income for the family, which alleviated debts caused by Iherangi’s addiction.

His client admitted this was “wrong” but “you have a man before you who will do anything for his family, his whanau and his people”, McColgan said.

While Justice Grice acknowledged Namana’s plea, she said the amount of methamphetamine sold, and the length of offending, were aggravating features.

“These are serious offences.

“It’s only a snapshot of your offending,” she told Namana, adding the key role he played was another aggravating factor.

Namana had played a significant and primary role central to the whole operation.

“The offending affected directly on your own community, where you were regarded as a leader.

“The social harm wrought on the community is significant.”

This was especially true, as Namana himself was not a user, she said.

She understood he had found it difficult to get out of dealing because of the high income generated by the “insidious drug” and expectations from others in the supply chain.

She allowed him a 25 per cent discount from a starting point of eight years imprisonment because she accepted he was remorseful and had entered guilty pleas at the earliest opportunity to an amended summary of charges.

She deducted another 12 months because of his personal circumstances and difficult background.

She jailed Namana for five years and seven months on the lead charges to be served concurrently with lesser prison sentences he received on the other charges.

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